Author: Ron Graham

Glossary Simplybible

Word Study: Deacon

Word family: Deacon, deaconess, deaconry.


Synonyms: servant, service, minister, ministry


Related ideas: eldership, church government, benevolence


Definitions: Deacons are those chosen and appointed by a congregation of Christ to serve in, and be administrators of, various works and ministries.


Greek References: διακονος (diakonos) 1249 (Strong) cf 1247-1248


Scripture chain:

  Pattern for appointment

  • Acts 6:1-6 [How seven deacons were chosen in Jerusalem]
  • Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and servants [ bishops and deacons ]”

  Prerequisites for deacons

  • 1Timothy 3:8-13 “Servants [ deacons ], in the same way, must be reverent, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. ...Let these first be tested, then let them serve if they are beyond reproach... Those who have served well obtain for themselves a high standing...”

  Principles for deacons

  • 1Peter 4:10-11 “As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its many forms. If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified...”

Comment: The word "deacon" is really just the Greek word diakonos turned into an English word. As such it is rather meaningless to those who do not know Greek. The word diakonos, if actually translated (rather than merely transliterated) means servant or minister. Most of the time it is rendered as such, and it is questionable whether the use of "deacon" in the few instances is necessary or helpful.


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